Thursday, October 29, 2009

Breaking Down The Walls

If I break down the walls, I will be surrounded by the garden.
If I break the levee, water will inundate me.
Meditation is not to be separated from life.

Today's Tao commentary says "Do we continue to meditate once we come to this understanding? We still do but it is no longer a solitary and isolated activity. It is part of life, as natural as breathing. When you can bring yourself to the understanding that there is no difference between you and Tao and that there is no difference between meditation and ordinary activities, then you are well on your way to being one with Tao".

When I was typing the above commentary I had something of a Freudian slip. Originally I typed "Do we continue to medicate once we come to this understanding"? Many of us spend much of our lives medicating ourselves one way or another from the pain and difficulties of life. We do this in many ways. Some do it with drugs and alcohol. Others do it through a non stop frenzy to accumulate more stuff. We are always trying to find ways to avoid some aspects of reality. Certainly some parts of reality are painful for everyone and I know some people have more than their fair share of pain. Most of us, however, if we break down the walls we have built, will discover that we are surrounded by a garden. Having said all this, I know today's Tao reading is not really about this. These thoughts just occurred to me when I made the Freudian slip and used "medicate" instead of "meditate".

Today's Tao reading is really about breaking down the wall between spirituality and life. It's about living a non dualistic life. Most people think of their spiritual life as separate from the rest of their life. Spirituality for many is simply the prayers they say, the church services they attend, or other spiritual practices and disciplines they may have incorporated into our lives. All of these are certainly good things and I encourage them. However, I like what Thomas Merton wrote in his article entitled "Day of a Stranger". Highly regarded as a Spiritual Master, he wrote, "How I pray is breathe, what I wear is pants". In other words his prayer and "spiritual" life were becoming indistinguishable from his normal day to day life after he left the structured environment of the monastery and he began living alone in his hermitage. At some point our spiritual practices should become more than things we do. They should become things we are. Our spirituality, like the water that flows over a broken levee, should inundate our lives to the point where it can no longer be distinguished from the rest of our lives. The sacred and the secular become one.

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